PARIS — Workers renovating the landmark Paris department store La Samaritaine can pick up their tools again.
In the latest twist in the legal saga that has temporarily halted work on a section of the building, a Paris court said on Thursday that it was lifting an earlier court decision to suspend a construction permit delivered by Paris City Hall to luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which owns the complex.
This means work can continue while LVMH’s appeal is being considered. The appeals court is due to deliver its final verdict on Dec. 5.
“We are satisfied with the decision,” a spokeswoman for LVMH said.
The pharaonic project, which is set to incorporate 280,000 square feet of retail space alongside a luxurious Cheval Blanc hotel; 95 units of affordable housing; a day-care center for 60 children, and 215,000 square feet of offices, has run into opposition from a nonprofit group that argues it will be an eyesore.
Japanese architecture firm SANAA has designed a building with an ultramodern facade of undulating glass, in lieu of the old Samaritaine structure, which has been shuttered since 2005 because of safety concerns.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has backed the project, which has also been green-lighted by authorities charged with maintaining historic monuments and ensuring any new constructions respect housing quality.
In a decision that left LVMH and city officials reeling, the Paris administrative court in May canceled the portion of the construction permit covering the Rue de Rivoli, one of the city’s main shopping hubs.
That forced LVMH to halt work on this section of the building, which was in the process of being demolished, though it was allowed to continue work on the portion of the complex facing the River Seine, which includes a landmarked Art Deco facade and signs.
The Samaritaine department store — a stone’s throw from the Louvre museum — was founded in 1870, with LVMH acquiring a majority stake in 2000. With an estimated cost of 500 million euros, or $635 million at current exchange, the multiuse project is expected to create some 2,000 jobs.
The complex site, an agglomeration of buildings straddling several centuries and architectural styles, has presented multiple challenges and encountered numerous administrative snags.